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[greenyes] Re: Eco-friendly cafeteria supplies and other topics of interest


I think you've summed up the issue pretty well in terms of planning options vs. immediate implementation options. Unfortuantely, most of the east coast has been moving at a snail's pace to address organic waste recovery, the key issue if moving from Dana's existing problem with styrafoam to compostables and/or food waste recoveries.

The so-called simple solution of washing dishes/flatware is a viable possibility in almost any facility where food preparation is done on site, because food preparation generally demands at least the need for washing of some of the preparation utensils during the process. Just working through planning issues associated with catering GRRN's Zero Waste Action Conference (being held May 23-25 at Pace University's City downtown Campus in NYC, see for more details - scholarship requests liberally considered for registration) the dilema of utilizing on-site catering versus off-site vendors came down to whether on-site sinks and prep areas were available. Although we found a couple off-site vendors that could have catered the event for us without access to kitchen facilities, the simple aspect of not being allowed a normal food prep area, created a larger staffing issue.

However, if utilizing highly compostable materials, modularized in-vessel composting and/or worm bins can be installed in relatively small outdoor or indoor spaces - one such project is part of the Organics tour that will be part of GRRN's conference at the Lower Eastside Ecology Center here in NYC. It may not be appropriate for a large cafeteria's worth of materials, but then in that situation washing dishes will be - so site specific specs are truly necessary to make a determination as to what is appropriate - I encourage everyone wanting to know more to come out and speak with the technical experts who focus on organics rather than the policy wonks (like me) that know enough to utilize these concepts for planning, but may not be able to solve all your implementation issues.

Timothy J.W. Logan
Lead Organizer, NYC Zero Waste Campaign

"Brennan, Terry" <tbrennan@no.address> wrote:
I would like to suggest some middle ground here. It seems like this is a bit of a glass half empty, glass half full" discussion. It sounds to me that, on one hand, we have an optimist suggesting what may be possible, even if in some cases only for planning purposes, and on the other hand we have a pragmatist looking at what can be done today.

I think both viewpoints are valid. There are some things that can be done today, and there are things to keep in mind in order to plan for future progress.

Terry S. Brennan
Integrated Waste Management Specialist
California Integrated Waste Management Board
phone (916) 341-6578
fax (916) 319-7474
e-mail tbrennan@no.address

Zero Waste - You make it happen!

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